Saturday 24 March 2018

Real Madrid 'abandon' Paul Pogba pursuit as Manchester United consider Blaise Matuidi

France's Blaise Matuidi
France's Blaise Matuidi

Samuel Lovett

There’s only one player on the cards for Manchester United at the moment. Paul Pogba continues to dominate headlines as the club looks to bring the Frenchman back to Old Trafford.

As revealed by the Independent and L’Equipe, Pogba is reported to have told close friends that he wants to leave Turin once he returns to Italy after this weekend’s Euro 2016 final.

Fans will be confident that United can pull off the transfer after reports emerged suggesting that Real Madrid had “abandoned” their pursuit of the 23-year-old. According to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, the La Liga giants will struggle to match United’s record-breaking £100m bid.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Balague said: "Real Madrid have basically said: 'no way we're going to pay that' and they've abandoned the auction.

"So I think he's Manchester United-bound. Did he want to go to Old Trafford and play in the Europa League? I don't know, I don't think so."

However, in a contrasting report, Italian outlet Gazette World has said that Real Madrid are ready to go toe-to-toe with United in the race to secure the midfielder’s signature. The two sides are the only clubs who have been properly linked with Pogba and Gazetta has suggested that Madrid will move to formalise an official bid after Euro 2016.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane is a known admirer of the French superstar and has allegedly asked his directors to match United’s offer. According to reports, the Spanish giants would have little issue in paying the €15m-a-season in wages that Pogba would command.

Beyond Pogba, it seems United are also keeping an eye on France’s Blaise Matuidi. Reports at the start of the week suggested that the France international had been afforded time away from the Euro 2016 camp to discuss a move to United, and L’Equipe has now followed that up with a claim that the Premier League side have been given the green light to engage in official talks with the 29-year-old.

In other news, Juan Mata has been linked with a move from United to Everton. With Jose Mourinho taking the reins at Old Trafford, the midfielder’s future at the club remains unclear and Ronald Koeman appears to have dropped the biggest hint yet of his interest in the 28-year-old.

When asked by a fan if there were any new signings on the card, including Mata and Witzel, the Toffees manager remarked “Yes, it is possible”.

But Mourinho will risk upsetting his Manchester United players if he decides to let Mata go. According to the Manchester Evening News, Mata is well liked among his teammates and his possible departure would be “very unpopular” within the dressing room.

Independent News Service

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport